THEME OF THE WEEK: #1: APR-19 Training Volume Update & #2: What’s On My Mind?
For the last eight weeks, I’ve been following the the fun, flexible but incredibly demanding APR-19 #HyperWorkouts. Check out the progress and experience below.
Beyond training, the last few weeks since returning from a short break in Nice, I’ve been in deep thought on some big high-impact topics. Peer in to my mind…
#1: APR-19 Training Volume Update
The Goal of APR-19
With four months down and eight to go until I reach my personally-set deadline of achieving my bold physique target, there is no rest for the wicked.
DEC-18 was about body part splitting and loads of frequency. FEB-19 brought me back to the heavy strength training. Now, for the last two months I’ve been on the APR-19 #HyperWorkouts Training Block, where the focus was escalating weekly volume, optionality and some fun gamification.
The main design principle that made this Training Block progressive and and plateau busting was the built-in demand to increase session volume week-in-week-out by 7-10% minimum. Whilst that might sounds on the low side, bear in mind that 7-10% compounded for 8 weeks!
Said another way, the Training Block goal was to increase Week 1 volume across each of the five workouts incrementally, and in doing so having a 61-95% volume increase by Week 8. I could achieve the volume goals by more reps, more sets, heavier weights and additional exercises.
So How Did I do?
I’m not gonna lie, this block got super intense and demanding towards in the back half. Academically, the weekly increase seems a walk in the park. But with more of everything each session, it got hairy.
The sessions got longer and longer from week to week, which not only meant more time working out, but also more energy being depleted. I balance the time pressures with increasing volume of superset work, but even still it was a physical and emotional drain. Especially for Neurotype 1A’s like me, who do strength well, but struggle with lots of bodybuilder volume.
Lets first check out the APR-19 #HyperWorkouts progress within the HeavySet App:
Yep, you read that right! ~39 Sets per workout in the latter weeks of the Training Block, up from about 20 in week one. And from a volume perspective, I got up to moving around about 40 Tonne per session! Just insane.
You can see the prior workout volume to the left which was from FEB-19. The volume progress on there was minimal across the period, mostly because it was heavy Strength work and a rigid number of sets and exercises. But as I got motoring through APR-19, volume took off!
To give a week by week and session by session breakdown, check out the below table. You can see the week-on-week percentage increase (wow), which was supposed to be between 7-10%:
A few points to highlight:
- High WOW – Some week-on-week Session progress was as high as 70%. Yeah, I got a little carried away
- Some Misses – There were 10 sessions where I failed to make the 7-10% progress goal – be it timing, tiredness or wrongly judging my work capacity
- 2/8 Weekly Misses – There were 2 weeks where I failed to hit the overall weekly targets.
- Holiday – Week 5 was when we went on holiday to Nice for a week. Still managed to get in some decent work, but missed a session and wasn’t able to progress
- W1 vs W8 Increase – I’m chuffed with these numbers across the board. Considering the goal was to hit between 61-95% across each session, I absolutely smashed through my expectations
- W8 Target Range – as you can see, other than Day 1, I was significantly higher across each session target range.
- 327,000 KG’s Extra Volume! – as a result of the programme design, I added over 300 Tonne of extra training volume across the 8 weeks, in comparison to how most training blocks are typically designed.
The below graph gives a sense of where my overall Training Block volume landed within the week-on-week Target Range. As you can see, I pretty consistently fell above the target range, with a couple weeks within due to Holiday fun.
Was It Worth It?
In a word – YES!
Firstly, it was so much more fun and engaging to follow a long Training Block like this where I had so much control of each session based on how I felt, energy levels, confidence under the bar and time available. I literally don’t think I had the same session twice, as I added extra exercises and chose different pairings.
Secondly, the absolutely foundation of developing muscle and strength is Progressive Overload. That means shifting more weight as time goes on. Training Volume is understand as:
Training Volume = Weight x Reps x Sets x *
* Time Under Tension, Muscle Group Training Frequency and Overall Exercises also falls into the equation, but the above are the biggest moving pieces..
There is no two ways about it – there was significant Progressive Overload in this Training Block. Much much more than I have ever experienced in any over Block. And you can see it. I can see it in my physique, training capacity, muscle endurance, recovery time between sets and strength.
Thirdly, there was so much variety built into this Training Block that I was able to hit muscle groups in various angles, tempos, rep ranges, tensions and ranges of motion.
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The only downsides (which are significant) with this Training Block was the escalating time needed to compete sessions, and the level of exhaustion felt afterwards. The latter weeks were so demanding, that I was pretty much knocked out for a few hours afterwards both physically and mentally. This became a real issue because I train in the morning before starting work.
Lastly, this Training Block did make it a little harder to manage my Calories and Macros, As the volume was increasing, you really need to try and match your food intake in line with energy burnt, to ensure being in a surplus. I tried, but think I fell short of my Surplus needs a bunch of times.
With all said and done, I would absolutely recommend this Training Block for intermediate to advanced lifters who are dialled in and committed to further developing their physique and need tools to break through size, strength and muscle endurance plateaus.
#2: What’s On My Mind?
To be fair, the above was pretty all consuming, but I do have a day job as well! Been smashing out AdapNation content and pushing the limits of my knowledge and capability the last couple months.
On a mostly work related basis (when #BeYourBest is the mission – it’s all work!), I’ve been exploring with friends, family and peers some deep, reflective and philosophical areas of over the last few weeks:
1️⃣ My Nutritional Journey – I’ll talk and write about this soon, but at a high level my nutrition has morphed so much over the last couple of years. I thought I reached the end-state, yet with some discussions around Homo sapiens evolutionary diet with great Podcast guests, combined with an increased intuition that certain plant-based foods seem to be net-negative to health, I am drawing up a new framework for how I want to fuel Optimal Wellness, for me. More meat, more organs, less carbs, less plants, less fibre. More on this later.
2️⃣ Veganism vs Everything Else – Is the only sustainable way to carry on as a species and nourish our planet to become a vegans en masse? Is veganism even sustainable? Is it net-positive for animals, our soil and for individual wellness? Honestly, the more I think about this, the more disillusioned I become about each and every argument supporting going vegan.
3️⃣ My Kids Education – I thought my kids would always go state school… because I did. Plus, given the rate of change and uncertainty fo the job market due to the exponential growth in digitation, cyber and automation, I don’t really rate education grades and academic outcomes. That said, with AdapNation’s mantra being #BeYourBest, I am starting to reframe the schooling experience from a burden on the kids to get through and get some grades, to being a partnership opportunity between parents and progressive schools to develop the whole child. To prepare them for this new world, and help them #BeYourBest. To develop them way beyond the grades. Interesting.
4️⃣ Evolutionary Humanism – I recently read Homo Sapiens, and just finished Yuval’s second book Homo Deus. Both are incredibly fascinating. The explore and challenge what it is to be humans, and how our societies are run and motivated. I find myself seeing a lot of merit in Evolutionary Humanism, but at the same time value Liberalism and do not want in any way to be of a similar mindset to evil leaders of our past. That said, the more and more I think about thins, the more I am seeing them through the lens of evolutionary pressures and needs. We have the same evolutionary pressures, albeit we want everyone to have equal voice, rights and opportunities. Is that realistic?
5️⃣ Training & Eating as per my Neurotype – After Podcast #75 with Christian Thibaudeau, I’ve so dialled in and in tune with this notion of people having a dominant Neurotype. I’ve really identifying with my Neurotype, and am enjoying working with it, versus against. Fascinating and practical stuff.
6️⃣ Increasing Joy, whilst Decreasing Materialism – I posted only today on Facebook and Instagram that we as a family are shifting pretty quickly from one of material value to that of experience. Where less is more, and the choice to be happy with what we’ve got – with the moment. Instead of wishing away life, waiting fro the next purchased thing to enter our lives. Afterall, purchases seem to have so little emotional carryover after the positive initial blip. This is challenging how we look at holidays, weekend, weekdays and how we spend money (or don’t) to have fun and be content.
7️⃣ Planet & Environment Sustainability – After watching Our Planet, reading the books on evolution, and being positively provoked by friends and family regarding sustainability and caring for our planet, I find myself continuously returning to this idea that capitalism will be the end of our planets resources, as their is a built in need for more more more. I am feeling compelled to change our lifestyle and use AdapNation to help make a difference in consumption vs restorative activities for the planet. I’ve never been a tree hugging hippy, but recently with my appreciation and enjoyment I get from being in nature, I need to spend my next 50 years plus helping and giving – versus simply selfishly looting the world for my own personal pleasure.
Coming Up In Next Few Weeks
In terms of Training, Wellness, Mindset and Body Goals, here’s my focus for the next few weeks:
- JUN-19 – No idea what this will look like yet. But it will be different again. A week deload, then right back on it!
- Books – So much to reach. I’ve got an awesome reading list to get through. Currently reading Longevity Paradox by Dr Steven Gundry.
- Diet Transition – As per above, my diet is morphing into a Meat-Dominant way of eating, with some exceptions.
- Body Measurement Check In – I’ll look to share my latest body stats soon. See where the build and APR-19 has got me.
P.S. I’ll let you know how I get on with an update every few weeks… 🙂
Follow Steve’s Body & Mind Progress Journal as it unfolds. Comment if you have questions, ideas or motivation to offer, and please keep me honest to the above.